The check box for “fun to drive” is always at the top of my runabout evaluation list, and we marked it with an exclamation point after putting the new 2016 Crownline 225 SS through its paces. Credit the Crownline F.A.S.T. Tab hull for extra smiles per gallon. The acronym stands for fin-assisted safe turn. That’s the description. In practice, a F.A.S.T Tab hull’s vented chines aerate the running surface to reduce drag, and the finlike tabs keep those vents from producing handling quirks. The hull sticks in turns, is responsive to trim, and really airs out at speed. Chop back the throttle and you can feel the vents working as the boat glides along for quite some distance before settling off plane.
To compete in the crowded field of midsize runabouts, Crownline’s 225 SS offers a cockpit with a little extra elbowroom thanks to its portside seating, which wraps around in an L-shape and sports a backrest at the console that pivots to face forward or aft. This provides companion seating when cruising or when ski spotting while enjoying watersports, as well as great recreation when anchored. Also, the area behind the helm seat is open so there’s easy egress from the swim platform.
Crownline provides for provisions with a 25-quart carryout cooler that conveniently stows below the platform walk-through, and a drained, built-in cooler below the aft seat cushion. Music lovers will appreciate a standard six-speaker Jensen Marine audio system with two speakers at the swim platform. There’s a long list of premium audio options available.
Fit and finish are generally good, although we found a few rough fiberglass edges that could be ground off around underseat stowage. We like the way the aft seat base is hinged to improve service access to the front of the engine. This boat is loaded with polished stainless steel, which is a Crownline signature, from the windshield header to logos on the hull to an inset in the bucket-seat back. The only thing brighter might be your satisfying smile as you zip across the lake in this entertaining bowrider.
Comparable Model: Sea Ray 230 SLX